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USF football: Five things to know about UConn

One extensive drought will end when the Huskies host the Bulls on Saturday.
UConn coach Randy Edsall walks along the sideline during the first half of Saturday's game against UCF in Orlando. [PHELAN M. EBENHACK  |  AP]
UConn coach Randy Edsall walks along the sideline during the first half of Saturday's game against UCF in Orlando. [PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP]
Published Oct. 1, 2019

A quick look at Connecticut (1-3, 0-1 American Athletic Conference), which hosts USF (1-3, 0-1) on Saturday at noon in East Hartford:

1. Something’s gotta give

UConn coach Randy Edsall greets USF's Charlie Strong after the Bulls' victory against the Huskies last October at Raymond James Stadium. The 38-30 triumph was USF's last against a Division I-A foe. [JONES | Tampa Bay Times]

If misery truly loves company, the Bulls have a veritable soulmate in the Huskies.

USF’s current nine-game losing streak against Division I-A competition is 10 games shy of UConn’s skid, which started after a 20-14 home win against Tulsa on Oct. 21, 2017. The Huskies have lost 12 in a row against American Athletic Conference foes.

2. Musical QBs

UConn quarterback Mike Beaudry (12) runs for the team's first touchdown of the season during the first half of the season opener against Wagner. [STEPHEN DUNN | AP]

The Huskies were all set to roll out their third starting quarterback in five games this weekend, but Coach Randy Edsall announced Monday that 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski suffered a fractured clavicle in his relief effort Saturday at UCF.

Krajewski entered late in the first quarter of Saturday’s 56-21 loss, and posted some decent numbers (22-for-33, 273 yards, three TDs, one INT). Now that he’s sidelined, Edsall goes back to 6-5 graduate transfer Mike Beaudry, an Orlando native.

Beaudry, who led West Florida to the Division II national title game in 2017, had a decent day (14-for-21, 158 yards, one INT) in a 24-21 season-opening win against Wagner, but hadn’t played since. On Sunday, Edsall said Beaudry had been nursing an unspecified injury.

3. ‘Better’ is a relative term

Boise State running back Alexander Mattison (22) dives forward as he is tackled by UConn defensive back Tyler Coyle ,right, in the first half of their 2018 game in Boise. The Broncos won, 62-7. [STEVE CONNER | AP]

At times this season, UConn has shown some defensive resistance, representing an upgrade from 2018 when it barely showed a pulse.

The Huskies, who started no freshmen on that side of the ball at UCF, rank 11th in the AAC (ahead of Houston) in total defense, allowing 394.8 yards per game and 6.3 per play. That’s a quantum leap from last year, when they allowed 50.4 points and 617.4 yards a contest.

Still, they surrendered three plays of at least 70 yards before halftime Saturday at UCF.

“They’ve got playmakers," Edsall told reporters Sunday. “We don’t have those type of guys yet. We’ve got young guys that once they get bigger and stronger will be able to do that.”

UConn generally operates out of a 4-3 look, but employed a nickel defense almost exclusively at UCF. Veteran safety Tyler Coyle (25 tackles, one INT) might be the unit’s best player.

4. Sunshine-to-Storrs pipeline

UConn defensive back Messiah Turner, a Tampa Catholic alumnus, knocks the ball from Boise State wide receiver Akilian Butler during a kickoff return in the second half of Boise's 62-7 victory last season. [STEVE CONNER | AP]

The Huskies’ roster, typically rife with Floridians, features 11 this season. Among them: kicker Sean Young (Admiral Farragut) and sophomore DB Messiah Turner (Tampa Catholic). Young has done some kickoffs this season; Turner has a pair of tackles.

RELATED: USF-UConn kickoff switched to noon

5. Plenty of good sections available

UConn’s mediocrity, combined with the recent switch of this game to a noon kickoff, could result in an attendance figure several thousand shy of sparse.

The Huskies averaged only 21,378 fans for their first two home contests, but bear in mind, those are announced figures (tickets distributed) and not actual ones. Considering East Hartford is on an encephalitis watch (prompting the change to a noon kickoff), it’s hardly a stretch to suggest only 10,000 or so might turn out to Pratt & Whitney Stadium on what is forecast to be a chilly (mid-50s) day.

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